Kids in Montessori School Parent Handbook

Kids in Montessori School
Parent Handbook
The education of even a very small child…
Does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.”
--Maria Montessori
KIM School
Kids In Montessori, Inc.
1032 KIM School Circle, Jefferson City, MO 65101
Phone: 573-638-5467
Email: [email protected]
Revised, Fall 2012
KIM School
Kids In Montessori, Inc.
Dear Parent,
We hope that through our Orientation you and your child will feel comfortable and “at home” at KIMS. The KIM School
Parent Handbook has been prepared to help you more fully understand the way we do things. Please read it carefully. It will
answer such questions as “When can I observe by child in the classroom? What is a Thanksgiving Feast? and, How do you
celebrate birthdays at KIM?”
Before your child begins, it is a good idea to read about the Montessori method. The Parent’s Guide to the Montessori
Classroom by Aline Wolf is a “quick read,” and it is available at KIM School. Other good books include Montessori: A
Modern Approach by Paula Polk Lillard, The Absorbent Mind and The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori, all available
at the public library and at KIM School.
In order to make your child’s first days at KIM successful, a brief cheerful goodbye works best. We recommend that a child
stay with us only about 1 – 2 hours the first days, if your schedule allows. A brief goodbye and a brief stay during the first
days often helps children who have separation problems adjust more easily. Bringing a carrot for one of the animals or an
apple for the teacher also helps. It takes the focus off the separation and puts it on something constructive and interesting for
the child.
Parent nights are scheduled throughout the year to further familiarize you with the Montessori method and other topics related
to parenting. We expect all our parents to participate in these events each year because children pass through different phases
as they develop. What seems inconsequential one year suddenly becomes very important the next!
As your child’s KIM adventure begins, we want to thank you for choosing our school for your child. We look forward to
getting to know your family.
Ronda Schaefer, M.Ed.
1032 KIM School Circle, Jefferson City, MO 65101
e-mail: [email protected]
“We adults should always act toward the child
in such a way as to answer his unspoken prayer,
‘Help me to do it myself.’”
--Maria Montessori
Because the family is the primary source of love and guidance in a child’s life, no school experience is complete unless the
home is involved. It is our goal to enhance your relationship with your child and to work with you in planning for your child’s
To help build a bridge between your home and KIM, we have prepared this handbook which contains detailed information that
will be useful to you during your child’s years with us. This is the third edition of the Kids in Montessori School Parent
Handbook and we are open to suggestions for future revisions.
In addition to this handbook, parents are encouraged to attend at least two parent nights during the school year, and we
encourage parents to read several books about parenting and the Montessori Method. All of these books listed below as well
as many others are available in our library.
A Parent’s Guide to the Montessori Classroom by Aline Wolf
Is an excellent overview of Montessori philosophy and explanation of the
classroom materials. It is a “quick read” and very informative.
Montessori: A Modern Approach by Paula Polk Lillard is a more
in-depth explanation of the Montessori Method.
The Secret of Childhood and The Absorbent Mind by Dr. Maria
Montessori gives wonderful insights into the young child and his
development while offering a glimpse into Montessori’s
unique world view.
Children: The Challenge by Rudolf Dreikurs, M.D. while dated in
terms of the roles mothers and fathers play in the family is a
valuable tool for parents who want to implement the same
discipline structure at home that is used in the classroom at
Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson, Ed. D. is an updated version of
the Dreikurs approach. A must for parents and teachers.
Throughout the Handbook both the pronouns “he” and “she” are used in order to give equal time and to make the text easier
to read.
Absences: In the event your child will be absent for the day, please call us between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. If
your child will be arriving late (but before 10:00 a.m.) it is not necessary to call.
Accreditation/Affiliations: KIM School is accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale. KIMS is currently the
only internationally accredited Montessori school in rural Missouri. KIMS is a member of the North American Montessori
Teacher’s Association and the Association Montessori Internationale.
Animals: Our animal program is a very important part of our school. Just a few years ago, most children had a relative who
lived on a farm. Now we find that a very small number of children have access to farm animals on a regular basis. At KIM,
we have had dogs, goats, sheep, chickens, guinea hens, ducks and perhaps someday soon, a pony. Our students help in the
care and feeding of the animals. One of the early morning activities will be filling the water trough or feeding. A word of
caution if you and your child have a treat for the animal: Please do not hand-feed them! If you have a treat for them, please
just drop it inside their enclosure. Hand-feeding the animals gives them the idea that at the end of every appendage on a
human being is something good to eat which can cause them to nibble at us when we are trying to pet them! In addition to
farm animals, we also have a number of animals indoors as well. We try to maintain a representative of each of the
classifications of animals in or indoor environments so you will usually see birds, fish and mammals. In addition you may
find a reptile and an amphibian depending upon the skill of the caretakers in the classroom. Frogs and snakes escape their
confines more easily than the other three.
Arrival/Departure: Please do not arrive at KIM more than five minutes before your scheduled time of arrival and please
arrive promptly at departure time. It is very difficult for teachers to supervise and care for the children before and after class
when there are other duties to perform. When arriving with your child, please give hugs and good-byes outside the classroom
entrance. Likewise, when picking up your child, please wait outside the classroom for your child to be dismissed. Please
remember that KIM is a “children’s house” and even the presence of an adult just by his mere size can be a distraction to
children working in the environment. Also, please help us keep our classroom peaceful by speaking softly. When leaving the
playground with your child, please ask him to shake hands with the teacher before departing. Not only does this reinforce a
courtesy, but it also lets the teacher know that you are now in charge of his safety. Children must be accompanied by an
adult during arrival and departure. During registration, a Release Authorization Card is filled out by parents listing those
persons other than parents who have permission to pick up the child. Release of your child to anyone not authorized by you
will require written permission. (See also Coat Rack and Parking Lot Safety.)
Backpacks: Each child brings a backpack daily. It is for storing personal items such as her comb and brush, or perhaps an
item brought from home such as a book. As the child matures, she will occasionally produce written work which may be
found in her backpack at the end of the day, however, Montessori programs are not “end-product” producing programs. The
young child is much more interested in process rather than product. The product of a Montessori classroom is the child, not
the written work she produces so do not rush to the child’s backpack each day anticipating evidence of the work she has done.
Most of the activities do not produce a piece of paper. So remember, an empty backpack does not mean that your child had an
empty day. Quite the contrary. Your child may have ironed 10 napkins, discovered which objects float in water, scrubbed a
table, prepared her own snack and learned the phonetic sounds of four different letters. None of which would be reflected in
the contents of her backpack. You will need to be patient as your child gradually reveals her newly acquired skills and
knowledge. Observations, conferences and parent nights give you more information about your child’s growth in the
Birthdays: At KIM birthdays are very special. It is not necessary to provide refreshments for your child’s celebration.
Instead you may want to donate a book or a plant for the classroom, or a tree for the playground in honor of your child. Ask
your child’s teacher for suggestions. A few days prior to your child’s birthday, please send one photo of your child when
she was a baby and another more current photo. These will be used to make a special birthday banner to have on display
in the classroom during the day and at your child’s birthday celebration.
VERY IMPORTANT: Any plans, invitations, and gift giving for birthdays must be done outside school to avoid hurt feelings.
Invitations may not be put in backpacks or cubby’s for this reason.
Hints for a successful birthday party: Wait until the child is at least four (maybe five) to have a party. Invite the number of
children that your child is old, e.g., a five year old would invite five friends, a six year old, six. The younger the child, the
fewer the guests, the shorter the party. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Bulletin Board: At the entrance to the classroom or the main entrance to our school, you will find a bulletin board. These
will keep you informed about specific classroom news as well as general school information. Notices of items for sale,
coming events, or other announcements may be posted there.
Carpools: After your child feels comfortable about coming to school, you may wish to become part of a carpool with other
KIM families. The KIM Directory located in the office is available to parents for help in finding addresses and phone
numbers of those who may live in your neighborhood who attend KIM.
Clothing: Please dress your child in comfortable and appropriate clothing which is easy for him to take off and put on. Please
avoid clothing with belts, tiny buttons, or difficult closures. There is nothing more frustrating for a child than to be trapped in
his clothing when nature calls. Also, please save the latest princess or super-hero clothing for non-KIM days. Experience
has shown us that it leads to very aggressive play on the playground. With our hiking trails and our outdoor play area, nondressy, functional clothing is best. Murphy’s Law of the Montessori Classroom states that “the child with the most expensive,
or newest clothing will get the dirtiest.” Please remember that the business of learning is often messy! Also, jewelry or stickon tattoos should not be worn at KIM. If your child has just recently been toilet trained, please send a bag full of extra
underwear and several sets of clothing (including socks) along with plastic bags in which to put the soiled articles. Do not
send your child to school in diapers, plastic pants, or pull-ups.
Coat Rack: Children are encouraged to hang up their own coat and put away their own backpack and materials. The greeting
process differs slightly depending upon when the child arrives. The teacher greets each child at the classroom entrance with a
handshake between 7:30 and 8:30. After 8:30, the child may independently enter the classroom and go to his teacher, who
may be involved in giving lessons, to receive his greeting.
Communication: In the event that a significant change occurs in your home, please inform us. All information will be
regarded as confidential. Common causes of distress are either or both parents being away from home, the illness of a relative,
any hospitalization, accident, or death in the family, a recent move, or death of a pet. Children often act as barometers of
family well-being. So that we can offer a little extra TLC when an occasional upset occurs, please keep the lines of
communication open. If you have a question about enrollment, waiting lists, or scheduling, please see Ms. Ronda.
Information or questions about tuition payments can be directed to Ms. Ronda. If you cannot speak to her personally, please
leave a note in the school mailbox and she will give you a call. Questions concerning school philosophy, classroom staffing,
school policy, class placement, building repair, wall color, or animal maintenance, see Ms. Ronda. Our door is always open,
and we welcome your ideas and input.
Our energies must be focused on children and their work in the classroom during the day, so the best way for you to
communicate with the us is with a phone call to the school (573/638-5467), which we can return before the end of the day, a
phone call at home, or e-mail (KIMSchoo[email protected]). By visiting outside of the class time, the safety of the children in
the classroom or playground is not compromised. If you wish to leave a message or instructions regarding dispensing
medication, simply write your message and leave in the school mailbox.
Two conferences are scheduled each year regarding your child’s progress. Both conferences are conducted
by your child’s teacher. Parents may reserve a conference time by registering one to two weeks prior to the conference on the
sign-up sheet on the bulletin board. Beyond these two scheduled opportunities each year, parents may ask for a conference at
any time with their child’s teacher.
Cultural Presentation: Often, as an extension of the Geography Area of our classrooms, we invite people to share
information with us about other cultures. Presentations are sometimes given either by parents who are native of another
country or by friends. If you are a native of another country, please consider sharing your culture with the children in the
Discipline: The program offered at KIM is one, which seeks to minimize teacher control by facilitating the growth of selfdiscipline in the child. To this end, the children are directed into work, which is appropriate for their ability and interest. (A
busy child is a happy child. She is not a discipline problem and develops self-knowledge, choice-making abilities, and this
self-discipline through work.) Natural and logical consequences of activities and choices are seen as the best guidelines to
self-direction. Children respond in different ways and at varying rates of progress depending upon a combination of factors,
such as background, experience, personality, temperament and life circumstances. Parents are invited to attend our parent
nights throughout the year to gain further insight into the type of structure which is provided for the child at school. Two
books we highly recommend for parents on discipline are Rudolf Dreikurs’ Children the Challenge and Positive Discipline by
Jane Nelson. Both are available in the office/library at KIM.
Dress: (See Clothing).
Emergency Closings: During bad weather, please watch TV-KOMU(8), KMIZ (17) or KRCG(13). We will close KIM if the
public schools are closed. If public schools dismiss early due be inclement weather, so will KIM. However, due to our
unique circumstances, we may close if public schools remain open. We will also send an email notification as well.
Evaluations: (See Conferences.)
Field Trips: Our class participates in one or two field trips each year. Instead, we invite people to KIM School and have
them bring their “stuff” with them; e.g., a fireman might come for a visit and bring the ladder truck. When a field trip is
planned, a notice is posted on our bulletin board, or a note is sent home with your child. A driver sign-up sheet is also posted
at that time asking for help in transporting children. A seat belt is required for each child over 40 lbs. and a car seat for
children under 40 lbs. Both an Emergency Care Release form and a Field Trip Authorization were given on the Enrollment
Form, however, if this information needs to be updated prior to the upcoming field trip, please contact Ms. Ronda to update
these authorizations. These forms along with the rules and regulations of travel are given to each of our drivers to protect the
safety of the children. When funds permit, a bus may be chartered for field trips.
Food: (See Menu)
Food Preparation: Children are introduced to food preparation in the Practical Life area of the classroom. Throughout the
year, your child may bring bread, bananas, cheese, apples, green beans or carrots for cutting. Check with your child’s teacher
as to which food is appropriate for your child’s skill level. Foods should be brought to school in a disposable bag. We also
use food preparation for morning and afternoon snacks.
Footwear: Three types of footwear are required at KIM School.
Shoes which are easy for the child to put on and take off and which offer good support for the child’s
growing feet. For very young children, shoes with velcro fasteners work best. Please do not send your child
to school in cowboy/girl boots, suede hiking boots, or fancy patent leather pumps. High top tennis shoes
may only be worn by children who can easily put them on, tie them, and take them off. When a child wears
shoes that he can put on himself, his self-confidence increases.
Boots are a necessity at KIM School during wet and/or snowy weather (which is actually year ‘round in
Missouri). Please fit your child with boots that she can easily pull on and off. Ones that must be pulled over
shoes are very difficult for children.
Slippers are worn in our classroom. Because we use our floor as a work surface, it is important to keep it as
sanitary as possible. The slippers should be simple and functional; easy for the child to put on and small
enough to fit into our slipper tubs (5”x8”x12”). Please put your child’s name on each slipper so that mix-ups
do not occur. (Unnamed articles can be lost.)
Found Objects: If perchance a piece of school equipment shows up at home, please send it back. Because all of our
Montessori apparatus is imported from either Holland or Italy, it is very expensive and difficult to duplicate. Some things that
seem inconsequential are really an important part of the material best loved by your child, and out of fascination, children
often want to take a piece of KIM home with them. Please do not scold, or embarrass her. Just slip the object in an envelope
and give it to a staff member.
Health Services: Each year, immunization records must be submitted to the school, at the beginning of the Fall/September
start or at the onset of your child beginning attendance. The immunization requirements are in accordance with regulations
established by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. If they are not submitted and complete, your child
will not be allowed to attend until they are received and reviewed. If there are Religious issues related to vaccines, it must be
documented by your physician and submitted for our file. In that case, you are required to sign a release of liability,
recognizing if your child is exposed to an illness you are aware of any potential complications that may result.
Information will be provided regarding updates on Flu issues, recommendations for vaccines, or any health related issues that
may occur seasonally.
Illness: If your child is unable to attend school due to illness, please phone between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. (638-5467). Should
your child become ill, or sustain a minor injury at school, you will be notified immediately. We request you have provisions
in place to pick up your child, if needed, within one hour of notification, per your parent application. In this regard, make sure
to notify the school regarding any changes of information in a timely manner, (phone numbers, changes in designated people
to pick up your child, etc). If there are Religious/Cultural issues that may affect emergency care, we must have documentation
on file signed by your physician. You will be required to sign a release of liability.
If your child is taken to an emergency room for any reason a minimum of 48 hours prior to their attendance, we require
written information, and a copy of the physician report. (high fever, stitches, etc).
The following information is provided to help parents regarding certain conditions that require exclusion from school.
Children will be excluded from school for reasons including but not limited to the following:
*Fever of 100 degrees or higher
*Head Lice, Scabies,(treatment must have been
completed in entirety)
Undiagnosed Rashes
Red, inflamed eyes, (pink eye) until diagnosed and
treated if necessary
Impetigo, (a contagious skin condition)
Common childhood diseases-State Regulations
Chickenpox, (excluded 7 days from onset of rash)
Strep-Throat, (following a positive culture, the child
must be on antibiotics without fever for 24
hours prior to returning to school)
Drainage from the ear
*Children with elevated temperatures, vomiting or diarrhea, are asked to be kept at home until they are symptom
free for twenty-four (24) hours. Many children are sent home ill one day, return the next, needing to be sent home again.
We appreciate parents sharing the diagnosis and treatment of children sent to physicians so we can be alert to possible
problems in other children.
Lunch: Each child coming to KIM School will bring his or her own lunch. The lunch should consist of a well-balanced,
nutritious, variety of foods. Children’s nutritional needs vary considerably, so it is perfectly acceptable for parents to
include supplementary breakfast snacks in the child’s lunch box, or separate snack to prepare in the Practical Life area. In
planning lunches and snacks, please try to keep refined processed foods to a minimum and the sugar content low. If
dairy or refrigerated items are included in the lunch box, please include a cold pack due to limited refrigeration space. Each
morning, the child will greet his teacher and then proceed to put their lunch box in the designated place. Lunch boxes
should be the types that hold a thermos inside. If your child has food allergies, please compile a list of foods that he cannot
eat and give it to the teacher. On occasion, food is shared among the teacher and children, so it is very important to know if
food allergies are a concern for your child. Arrangements will be made for substitutions at snack times.
Medicine: We can dispense medication to your child if you sign a Medical Authorization form giving us permission to do
so and a written note telling us the days you would like the medicine administered. We cannot give medicine without a
written consent.
Medication Administration: Medicine should never be sent with the child, (as in their lunch box or school bag). They
must be transferred to our staff directly by you the parent. Any drug which may be lawfully sold over the counter without a
prescription may be administered in compliance with the written instruction and consent of the child’s parent/guardian.
Administration of a prescription drug requires written instructions from a physician, dentist, etc, to include any possible side
effects, and written consent from the parent/guardian. Prescription medications must have the original label. You will be
required to provide written consent for us to apply topical antibiotics for a minor scrape, cut, etc.
Nap/Rest Time: Children who spend such a long day (some stay 10 hours) in such a stimulating environment need time to
rest. Some children require a longer rest than others. They are called Nappers. Those children who require less rest time
are called Resters. The children relax in the classroom after lunch and recess on mats listening to music, story tapes or
books, or teacher read books and get up after about an hour.
Nap/Rest Gear: All children bring a child size blanket, or beach towel sleeping/resting gear. Our floors have radiant heat
and heavy blankets are too warm. We find the blanket and mat offer the most comfort for the child as well as the floors
keeping him warmer during the winter months. Please label all nap/rest gear with your child’s name.
Newsletter/E-mail: Parents receive a KIM Newsletter 3-4 times per year. Everything from the latest additions to our
barnyard menagerie to hints on parenting appear in our editions. Also, the teacher periodically sends our special notices to
let you know about events specifically to our classroom. In addition to the newsletter, frequent e-mails are sent out to all
parents of current events at KIMS. Check the e-mail often (please make sure we have your current one), so you don’t miss
any news!
Normalization: The basic goal of the Montessori classroom is “normalization” of the child so that he becomes wellbalanced, spontaneous and able to utilize his capabilities to the fullest. Some of the characteristics of such a child are the
following: ability to concentrate, sense of personal dignity, independence, self-motivation, love of order, enjoyment of
repetition, ability to work alone, self-discipline, desire for freedom of choice, pleasure and fulfillment in work for its own
sake; no need for reward or punishment, obedience, preference for work over play and love of learning. Normalization is a
slow process—a point of arrival, not of departure in the classroom. The activities of the Practical Life area of the classroom
aid in this process and are some of the first presentations given to the child. As the child spends more time in the classroom
working with the materials his movements become more coordinated, he develops a sense of order, he lengthens his
concentration span, and he develops independence. Meanwhile, the parents are curious about what the child is doing at
school. Asking the child “What did you do today?” is like asking an adult “What did you eat for lunch last Thursday?” A
lot has happened since last Thursday, and for the young child who perceives minutes as hours and hours as days, a whole
morning can seem an eternity. Because he is absorbing, categorizing, and processing as he learns, and because his concept
of time is not fully developed, his answer will most often be “I don’t know,” or “Nothing,” or “We played outside.” (Not
exactly what a parent wants to hear.) The best way to get a window into the child’s world at KIM is to first read a book
such as A Parent’s Guide to the Montessori Classroom, and then attend a parent night about the classroom. After your child
has attended KIM for several weeks, come for a visit. We will arrange your observation in such a way that your child is not
aware of your presence. That way you can see him as he truly is in the environment. Then, instead of asking your child for
information, watch for clues: “I know how to button my own coat!” or “I can make my own sandwich,” is a child who is
telling you about his day. These are all answers to the question “What did you do today?” It is just that you have to be
patient and know that your answer will come in many forms.
Observation: Observation is one of the most valuable tools available for learning about Montessori and your child. By
sitting back, removed from involvement in the action, you can gain insights which are often clouded by everyday events at
home. Observation is an ideal way of discovering what your child most enjoys doing in the classroom as well as how
independent and self-directed she is in her work. Observation is especially meaningful just before or just after conferences.
Please let us know a few days in advance so your visit does not conflict with others, and we are available to answer any
questions you may have.
The teacher might not be available to talk with you when you arrive, since she will be busy with the children. Please note
the following suggestions:
We ask that you do not bring children to the school during observation.
Observations may be approximately 30 minutes in length.
Remain sitting (or standing) at one location while observing.
Keep interactions with the children brief. A brief answer if approached by a child is appropriate. Please do not
initiate a conversation with a child or adult while in the classroom.
During the work period the teacher with not be able to answer your questions and will ignore your presence so that
the children will do likewise. Please make note of anything you wish to ask at the end of the session. At the end of
the session, the teacher will be available to discuss your questions and comments. *
Be aware of the following aspects of classroom life.
Materials—type, arrangement, accessibility
Specialized areas of the room
General attitude
Relationships with each other
Interactions with the children
Levels of concentration, coordination, order, independence,
initiative, creativity, pleasure, respect, interactions
Movement, structure, discipline, noise level, mutual
* SPECIAL NOTE TO PARENTS: This is not a conference time with the teacher. If a conference is needed, please
schedule it with the teacher before or after school hours.
Orientation: Prior to each new session, KIM staff members conduct an orientation for new families. This meeting is about
an hour in length and is a special time for first-time students and their families to meet the teacher, take a tour of the
building and outdoors, and to become familiar with the program.
Outdoor Play: We go outside every day at KIM School unless it is raining, snowing, or extremely hot or cold. Children
need outdoor exercise and the opportunity to expend energy. If your child spends more than a half day at school, it is a good
idea to leave an extra wrap for her at KIM, especially as the seasons change. It is often a few degrees colder on our
playground than in town, and often the weather can change drastically through the day. What may have been a warm sunny
day in the morning can turn into a cloudy, cold day by afternoon so make sure your child has an extra sweater or jacket at
school. During inclement weather, the children will be permitted to play games and participate in other activities such as
movement activities, family and role-play, arts, crafts, block building, stimulating toys and games, etc.
PAC Meetings: Parents are asked to serve on one of KIMS Committees (PR/Communications, Maintenance, Construction,
Finance, Administration/Personnel, Fundraiser, etc.). Several meetings are held each year for parents to organize and serve.
Parent Education Meetings: Our first gathering of the year is one devoted to an orientation of the Montessori classroom
materials and how the child works in the environment. Others on “What is Montessori”, “Montessori in the Home,” give
information about how to set up activities at home that foster independence and self-reliance. Subsequent parent nights deal
with such topics as parenting, discipline and in-depth presentations on Math, Language, Geography, Science, or Art. New
parents are strongly encouraged to attend the first few parent nights of the school year. All parents are encouraged to attend
as many get-togethers as possible throughout the year.
Parking Lot Safety: The increasing number of automobiles plus the faster pace at which we live our lives make our
parking lot a dangerous place to be if you are an unsupervised preschooler. To insure the safety of our children, please
follow these guidelines:
1. Please accompany your child into the building or from the playground (if her class is outside) and make
contact with her teacher before departing.
2. Please do not leave younger siblings unattended in your car.
3. Please do not leave your car engine running while you take your child into the building, unless there is another
adult in the car.
4. Please make contact with your child’s teacher, assistant, or late afternoon teacher before leaving with your
child either through a handshake by your child, or a word of goodbye so that the adults involved know that
their responsibility for your child’s safety and well being has been transferred to you.
5. When picking up your child, please keep her with you as you leave the building and get into your car. We
want to discourage children from getting to the parking lot ahead of their parents. Some of our children can
open the door themselves so parents must stay with their children as they leave. Holding a child’s hand can
help further insure a safe departure.
6. Please use a seat belt and/or car seat when transporting a child.
7. As we arrive and depart each day, we often see friends with whom we would like to visit. Unfortunately,
unless your child is already in the classroom, adults locked in a conversation can be one of the most dangerous
things that can happen during transition times at our school. Our children sense when adults are not focused
on them, and left unsupervised, may do things they would not normally do at home, or in the classroom at
KIM. This can include using a loud voice inside the building, running in the classroom, or finding their way to
the parking lot. To insure the safety of our children, please keep conversations brief and your child safe by
holding his hand during departure.
8. At 1:30 and 3:30 some of our children wait with staff at the front entrance to our building to be picked up by
parents. Parents picking up children at this time do not need to come into the building. Staff will escort your
child to the car.
9. When approaching school at the top of the hill, stay to the right. The circle drive goes in a counter-clockwise
direction. Please yield to drivers coming up the hill when exiting the circle drive.
Separation: Another aspect of your child’s adjustment to school is his separation from you. A smooth, easy transition is as
important to us as it is to you and your child. For this reason, we invite parents to join their children for their first visit to
KIM. Then on the first day of school, we recommend that children stay about 1 hour if possible. This way the child can
have an opportunity to establish the ritual of saying goodbye, to work for a short period and to meet some of his new
friends. When the parent returns, he realizes that his parent will be picking him up. Ideally this pattern should be repeated
for several days, each day increasing the period of time the child stays. Some time during their preschool career, every child
experiences separation anxiety. If your child cries upon being brought to school, you should put on a good face, treat her
objections as a matter of factly as possible, assure her that you will return soon, bid goodbye kindly, but firmly, and leave
quickly. Tears are rarely long-lasting and often a method of testing your resolve. Once class begins, curiosity usually
overcomes anxiety and the child becomes actively involved in the classroom. Leaving a crying child at school can be a
heart-breaking experience (as all teachers who are parents know.) If you are still distressed when you arrive at work, or
home, please call the school. We will be glad to let you know how your child is doing. 99% of the time the child is playing
happily, and the parent is the one who is miserable. Relax. Trust us. Your child will have great days at KIM.
Sharing: While we do not conduct a “show and tell” session at our group times, flowers for the table, a carrot for one of
our animals, or specimens from nature are always welcome. These are pleasant ways of becoming a contributing member of
our classroom community. Toys, dolls, money, candy, jewelry, cosmetics, gum, or stickers should remain at home.
Slippers: (See Footwear).
Thanksgiving Feast: A Thanksgiving Feast is always scheduled the day before the Fall Thanksgiving Break at the lunch
hour. Parents provide the ingredients for the recipes, and the children spend several weeks preparing food for this very
exciting event. Watch fall newsletters and notices for details.
Tornado/Fire Drills: Emergency evacuations are practiced regularly by our classroom. Drills are conducted every 2
Winterwear: At KIM the outdoor temperatures are often lower than those in town. Because we go outside every day,
hat or hood which covers ears (stocking caps are great)
scarf or coat with collar that keeps the cold out.
mittens or gloves
down or poly-filled coat with a big zipper (washable)
snow pants which are easy to put on. Zippers at the end of legs for easy dressing with
Shoe boots, only. No over-boots, please
Writing: Before children enter elementary school they show an interest in writing letters. Parents often show their child
how to write using block, or capital letters. This is unfortunate because children will practice creating these letters many
times and later these old habits are hard to break. In public school, children use the D’Nealian alphabet until about third
grade when they make the transition to Cursive. At KIM we use the Cursive Alphabet from the start. Below are some of
our reasons for doing so.
There is less confusion between cursive forms of b, d, p, and q as there is with the manuscript.
Cursive writing is a more natural way of writing because then pencil flows along the paper without
frequent stopping within and between letters. The circular movements natural to cursive writing
correspond developmentally to the stages of a young child’s artwork.
The child who can read cursive can also read manuscript, but the reverse is not true.
In printing, the child often confuses and interchanges lower case and capital letters. For example, AndY
instead of Andy. This is rarely a problem in cursive.
Since cursive writing is used primarily throughout one’s life, it should be learned when interest is greatest.
Many older children and adults who were taught manuscript first have not made the transition to cursive,
and continue to use the slower and more awkward manuscript.
In the primary classroom, children learn to associate the sound, not the name with the letter. For those
children who have previously learned the alphabet/name, introducing the cursive forms with sound offers
less confusion.
If a child attends a Montessori elementary she will simply continue to use cursive, however, if the child attends public
school after KIM, the D’Nealian alphabet is practiced during the last semester of attendance. The transition from cursive to
manuscript is much easier for the child than manuscript to cursive.
PLEASE … DO NOT FORCE YOUR CHILD TO BEGIN WRITING EARLY. Only use these guidelines below IF your
child wants to know how to form letters:
Practice making the letters yourself before showing your child.
Pay careful attention to how the letters are formed and in what direction the stroke is made.
Show your child how to hold the pencil correctly. Gripping the pencil in the proper way is just as
important as forming the letter correctly.
Please do not force your child to write if he is not interested.
Written Work: The product of a Montessori classroom is the child, not the written work she produces. The growth within
the child occurs during the process of an activity. Thus, the quantity and quality of the written work that only sometimes
accompanies these activities may or may not reflect the true growth that has taken place. Our classroom may send home
written work occasionally. When written work does come home, let your child know you value the effort and learning that
went on behind the scenes, rather than just the product you see before you. Critical comments can be very destructive and
pressure for more and harder work takes the joy out of discovering and working spontaneously. The end result of pressuring
a child or expecting them to produce is that she sometimes loses interest, or is “turned off” to learning. The best approach is
to encourage her and be always aware that your child’s biggest developmental leaps are often intangible.
“A child’s work is to create the man he will become. An adult works to perfect the environment, but a child
works to perfect himself.
“Who touches the child touches the most sensitive
point of a whole which has its roots in the most
distant past and climbs toward the infinite future.
“Who touches the child touches the delicate and
vital point where all can yet be decided, where all is
pulsating with life, where the secrets of the soul
lie hid.
“To work consciously for the child and to go
deep down, with the tremendous intention of
understanding him, would be to conquer the secret
of mankind, just as so many secrets of Nature
have been conquered in the world about us.
“The activity of the child has always been looked
upon as an expression of his vitality. But his
activity is really the work he performs in building
up the man be will become. It is the incarnating
of the spirit.”
Maria Montessori
“Keep away from the wisdom that does not cry, the philosophy that does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow
before children.”
- Kihlil Gibran